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Old 11-11-2012, 04:42 AM
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Spilled Gasoline in my trunk of my Challenger - SOLUTION?

I am SO MAD at myself. My gasoline can tipped over on it's side while transporting it home inside the trunk of my car. I took everything out and so much spilled, it pooled all the way to the bottom of my car in the trunk, under the battery and all over the rugs. I soaked it all up as best as I could, removed the battery and soaked under that too. I read on the web several articles of advice and many said use white vinegar mixed with water, let dry then apply baking soda. Amazingly the potent gasoline smell came clean from the trunk matt and rugs but not from the bare metal of the car itself and it still reeks in the trunk. Other articles says to put coffee grinds on it. This happened last week. They say the gasoline will dissipate over time, but it's 40 degress outside and I'm driving with the windows down on the highway to work with the heat cranked to stop from gagging. I'm SO MAD AT MYSELF. I destroyed my car. Has anyone else have this happen with a permanent solution?
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:51 AM
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There is a mineral called "zeolite" that takes the smell of anything out of anything. Get it at your pet store or local health food store. It might be called "volcanic stone." It comes in little breather bags which should work in the trunk. After it's finished, leave it in the sun to "de-stink." You can use it forever.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Cuda340 View Post
There is a mineral called "zeolite" that takes the smell of anything out of anything. Get it at your pet store or local health food store. It might be called "volcanic stone." It comes in little breather bags which should work in the trunk. After it's finished, leave it in the sun to "de-stink." You can use it forever.
Cuda340, that's a really good idea. To the OP, put it down so that it completely covers the metal up to a 1/4 inch thick or so. Then put the trunk material back in place as you really don't want to breath the dust from this (zeolite is made from mica, it's what we used to create the pearlescent effect in plastics). I would say leave it for 24 hours then do it again and that should take care of the problem.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:24 AM
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WTF? I can't believe you didn't blow up your car up in the process and you're lucky you didn't get injured. Unfortunately, your initial remedies probably did more harm than good in the long run. Since gasoline is NOT miscible with water, the LAST thing you should have done was mix it with water (vinegar) to clean it up as that would just prolong the time it takes for the gasoline to evaporate. Gasoline, by necessity, is very volatile, which is why you smell and continue to detect it so strongly. By combining it with water, you essentially slowed down the evaporation process because the water traps it in a time release fashion. The other thing about using vinegar is it's nothing but dilute acetic acid which is corrosive to metal. This is why they had you use baking soda afterwards to neutralize the acid. The problem now is, you may have residual salts left behind from the baking soda (which may also act to trap vapors by adsorption).
At this point, I'd remove everything from the trunk and thoroughly rinse with clean water and let dry with the trunk open. Leave the trunk liner out forever until it is odor free and leave the trunk open. Rent one of those heaters used to dry out homes after being flooded and thoroughly dry out the trunk area. The combination of heat and high volume of air flow may do the trick. The key is to place the heater unit in such a way that it won't overheat and damage anything in your car or cause a fire by being placed to closely (supervise).
The goal is to remove ALL vapors (both organic and aqueous) by volatilizing and evaporating them. Once they are gone, they're gone and all should be fine.
In addition to the above, to capture any residual organic vapors (hydrocarbons) and moisture, I'd use a combination of activated charcoal (for organic odors) and silica (to adsorb moisture) and change them out as needed. I work as an Analytical Chemist for a pharmaceutical company and have access to pallets full of both materials. In your case, both of the above materials can be found in a local pool supply company since they are commonly used in filtration.
Here are some links to learn about the materials I'm talking about:
Activated Carbon Technologies
http://www.ruralking.com/celatom-fil...FcqY4AodlgQAfA
Avoid breathing dust from either material and place equal parts in a pillow case, zip tie and mix them together, and place in your trunk until the mixture is saturated. After a day or two, change it out and repeat the process over again. The combination of doing all of the above steps should do the trick. If you do nothing else, leave the trunk open as much as possible in order to allow lingering odors and moisture to escape. Don't forget to remove the trunk light so the battery's not drained. I don't think I need to tell you to NEVER put flammable material in the trunk again! Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:34 AM
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Talking Same thing happen to me

Same thing happen to me but only in a Chevy Tahoe, Dude pull every thing out of the trunk area (ie) carpet, pad, etc any thing that asorbed the gas. It wiil evorporat over time. get a pile of clean rags and wipe all the metal, plastic, battery, etc with WD-40 (not the carpet)

Put a fan in the truck and let it run over nite for a few days, Fresh air ( no matter what temp) and time will cure this mistake. after a week or two take the carpet and trunk liner down to the car wash and soap it up and hose it down real good.

Remember fresh air and time will cure this mistake..along with some air freshner when your done !
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by snowcat256 View Post
Same thing happen to me but only in a Chevy Tahoe, Dude pull every thing out of the trunk area (ie) carpet, pad, etc any thing that asorbed the gas. It wiil evorporat over time. get a pile of clean rags and wipe all the metal, plastic, battery, etc with WD-40 (not the carpet)

Put a fan in the truck and let it run over nite for a few days, Fresh air ( no matter what temp) and time will cure this mistake. after a week or two take the carpet and trunk liner down to the car wash and soap it up and hose it down real good.

Remember fresh air and time will cure this mistake..along with some air freshner when your done !
He already mentioned he was able to get the carpets clean. It's just the bare metal of the trunk he is having a problem with.

I would take USponycar's advice to address potential problems with the products he has already used and to help remedy the gas odor. I also agree that the OP is quite lucky considering what could have happened. I hate transporting gasoline in my car regardless but I usually use an enclosed crate to place the gas container in and keep it on the passenger side floor where I can keep an eye on it (situated/secured so it will not tip over).
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:06 AM
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spilled gas tank in my trunk

Originally Posted by USponycar View Post
WTF? I can't believe you didn't blow up your car up in the process and you're lucky you didn't get injured. Unfortunately, your initial remedies probably did more harm than good in the long run. Since gasoline is NOT miscible with water, the LAST thing you should have done was mix it with water (vinegar) to clean it up as that would just prolong the time it takes for the gasoline to evaporate. Gasoline, by necessity, is very volatile, which is why you smell and continue to detect it so strongly. By combining it with water, you essentially slowed down the evaporation process because the water traps it in a time release fashion. The other thing about using vinegar is it's nothing but dilute acetic acid which is corrosive to metal. This is why they had you use baking soda after wards to neutralize the acid. The problem now is, you may have residual salts left behind from the baking soda (which may also act to trap vapors by adsorption).
At this point, I'd remove everything from the trunk and thoroughly rinse with clean water and let dry with the trunk open. Leave the trunk liner out forever until it is odor free and leave the trunk open. Rent one of those heaters used to dry out homes after being flooded and thoroughly dry out the trunk area. The combination of heat and high volume of air flow may do the trick. The key is to place the heater unit in such a way that it won't overheat and damage anything in your car or cause a fire by being placed to closely (supervise).
The goal is to remove ALL vapors (both organic and aqueous) by volatilizing and evaporating them. Once they are gone, they're gone and all should be fine.
In addition to the above, to capture any residual organic vapors (hydrocarbons) and moisture, I'd use a combination of activated charcoal (for organic odors) and silica (to adsorb moisture) and change them out as needed. I work as an Analytical Chemist for a pharmaceutical company and have access to pallets full of both materials. In your case, both of the above materials can be found in a local pool supply company since they are commonly used in filtration.
Here are some links to learn about the materials I'm talking about:
Activated Carbon Technologies
Celatom Filter Aid Diatomite for Swimming Pools 8826 by Baleco International Inc. for $19.99 - America's Farm and Home Store
Avoid breathing dust from either material and place equal parts in a pillow case, zip tie and mix them together, and place in your trunk until the mixture is saturated. After a day or two, change it out and repeat the process over again. The combination of doing all of the above steps should do the trick. If you do nothing else, leave the trunk open as much as possible in order to allow lingering odors and moisture to escape. Don't forget to remove the trunk light so the battery's not drained. I don't think I need to tell you to NEVER put flammable material in the trunk again! Good luck.

This product is new to me.

You mentioned you are a Analytical Chemist so seem very knowledgeable. So far, the trunk still stinks like gasoline. It happened almost a week ago.

After I soaked up all the gasoline from the trunk from initial spill

I immediately tried soap and water (then let it dry)
2nd day I used white vinegar with water (then let it dry)
3rd day baking soda with water (then let it dry)
4th day I currently have a bag of Gonzo Odor Eliminator which is supposed to take the smell of anything out of anything but isn't doing anything (YET). Supposably this stuff uses the same incredeints.

My wife already bought this stuff at the Lowes and the guy said this takes out gasoline odors and does the same thing. I figured I use it since she already bought it before I read your post.At this point, not sure if I'm making things worse or not?

I haven't put back any of the lining or anything yet, and have removed the trunk light so my battery doesn't die.
So do I mix this "Celatom Filter Aid Diatomite for Swimming Pools with water" and wipe the trunk clean with this stuff? Add what to it? Wipe with a rag the affected area? Or should I wait longer for the gas to dissipate even though it does not seem like it is at all.
At this point the gasoline smell is no longer a punch in the face, but a slap in the face now.

I'm so upset with myself. I knew it was a bad idea getting gasoline in a can and putting it in my trunk. Initially I had the gas can on the floor in the front passenger side with the seat pushed forward on it so it wouldn't move in a crate with the windows down and the fumes were still making me gag. I drove home so slowly with it in the trunk and knew it was going to spill and did it anyway. Happened just a block away from home.
I am Miserable right now. Am I an absolute IDIOT? Yes I am.

Last edited by antman67; 11-13-2012 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:19 AM
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:54 PM
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for what its worth ive heard dr.scholls discovered that coconut fibers made into deactivated charcoal have the best odor absorbing properties,which is the ingredient they chose for the shoe insoles.I would try NAPA floor dry,it is made from diatomaceous earth and absorbs odors pretty good.good luck!
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:50 PM
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The key here is to DRY out your trunk of all water so you don't add the diatomaceous earth to water. This material is merely skeletons of diatoms which are made of silica. The silica will absorb moisture as well as the gasoline vapors from the air in your trunk. The activated carbon is the most effective way to grab the trace gasoline fumes though. The protective masks we use in our facility have various cartridges that screw on. The ones designed to protect against ORGANIC (hydrocarbon) vapors contain this material and are very effective at adsorbing solvents from the atmosphere. Your first objective is to completely dry out your trunk of both residual moisture and gasoline, then capture any stray vapors with the activated charcoal/carbon and/or diatomaceous earth. As mentioned, a combination of both will work, but the activated carbon will be most effective.
So step one, dry out your trunk with plenty of air circulation using a fan or radiant space heater type device. If you have a garage, leave it there with the trunk open as much as possible. When the trunk is left closed, that's where the activated charcoal and/or diatomaceous earth will act to capture residual odors. Once the material is saturated, you just replace it with fresh material.
Another common household item you can use to deodorize your car is baking soda (alone with NO water). The idea to use baking soda to reduce odors came about in an interesting way. Of course it was used for cooking purposes for ages, but when the manufacturer shipped it along with heavily scented powdered laundry detergent, they ran into a serious problem due to the baking soda picking up the fragrance from the detergent. A woman in the company then turned something negative into a very innovative and positive use. That being the use of a box of baking soda to deodorize refrigerators. Their sales went off the chart as a result!
Your car will get better with maximum air circulation in the affected area and time. Just be patient and it should clear up.
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